When Ruth Byock died at age 81, her children didn’t expect to find much of importance in her home. Yet what they found took them by surprise. Next to her recipe box, there was a tiny card file. And in it, she had compiled all her important paperwork, account numbers, pending transactions, and other information they would need to settle her affairs and belongings. Losing a loved one is never easy. However, families often scramble and struggle to sort everything out after the death when much of that could be avoided. It will always feel too early to think about planning for your death. Until it is too late.

This article from Time calls what Ruth made a “when I die” file. And it may just be the single most important thing you can do for your family before you die. “When I die” files can ease the burden of death. If you’ve ever had a loved one die, you know nothing can make saying goodbye any easier. But dealing with the logistical aftermath of a death can pose huge burdens on families.

Plus, if you start planning early on, you can add more meaning to your “when I die” file than just a compilation of account numbers. You can leave things such as letters to family or advice to them. One person even left a eulogy for her husband in the file, in case she passed away first. It can be in the form of a file, binder, cloud drive, or even a shoe box is sufficient.

Some crucial items to leave in your “when I die” file are a Will and/or a trust. While those may seem obvious, there are some not so obvious things that should be included too. Marriage and divorce certificates and directions for your funeral are just as important. And most noteworthy, all passwords and account information for things such as phones, computers, emails, social media, and bank accounts.

This may seem like a lot of effort, and it definitely does take a lot of work. But by doing this, you are making a very difficult thing like death a little less stressful. And try to make it fun! Include nice letters, pictures, and thoughtful advice for your loved ones to discover. As previously stated, it always feels too early, until it’s too late.